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Official speeches and statements - March 2, 2017

Published on March 2, 2017

1. Select Defense Council - Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris - March 1, 2017)

The National Defence and Security Council met to examine the vigilance measures put in place for the presidential election campaign. It noted the additional protection measures taken for the computer systems involved in the election process.

To ensure the campaign and vote are not marred by any malicious actions, the French President asked for all necessary state resources to be deployed.

In view of the cyber threat, the National Cybersecurity Agency may be called upon by the national presidential election monitoring commission and the Constitutional Council, the guarantor of the election.

From 21 March onwards, the Vigipirate plan [anti-terrorist mechanism involving armed forces] will include all necessary measures to ensure the security of public gatherings linked to the campaign and the ballot.

The Council also examined the terrorist threat to national territory, as well as developing international crises.

It took stock of the Iraqi forces’ offensive to recapture the western part of the city of Mosul from Daesh [so-called ISIL] and the support French forces are lending it as part of the international coalition.

It welcomed recent progress in implementing the peace and reconciliation agreement in Mali, which should lead to the establishment of the interim authorities agreed by the parties and to the continuation of joint patrols.

2. European Union - White Paper - Joint communiqué issued by Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, and Mr. Sigmar Gabriel, German Minister of Foreign Affairs (Paris - March 1, 2017)

The Foreign Ministers of France and Germany welcome the «White paper on the future of the European Union» presented today by the President of the European Commission.

The White Paper of the European Commission, consistent with the «State of the European Union» speech by President Juncker on 14 September 2016, is an important and valuable contribution to the broader discussion on the future of Europe, its project and its functioning, in the run-up to the 60th anniversary of the Rome treaties on 25 March. It directly echoes the dynamics that have been launched since Bratislava and that was continued in Valetta, which aimed at reaching clear and concrete results to the benefit of European citizens.

As threats are growing, both internally and externally, Germany and France share the same conviction: our best protection and our best asset for the future is a stronger European Union.

We must further concentrate the EU’s activities on today’s main challenges: strengthening the EU’s role as a foreign policy actor in the neighborhood and on the global scale; ensuring the security of our citizens in the face of growing external and internal threats including through the EU’s defense policy; establishing a stable and cooperative framework to deal with migration and refugee flows; boost the European economy through promoting the convergence of our economies and European-oriented investment while reinforcing the European social market economy, a sustainable and job-creating growth and advancing towards the completion of the European Monetary Union.

Given the huge challenges Europe is facing, we are firmly convinced that we should not scale back our ambition regarding the European project. The EU is much more than a single market. It is based on a fundament of common values, solidarity and the rule of law. We recognize that today’s challenges require a better European Union. Sharing these convictions gives us a historical responsibility to constantly improve the functioning of our Union and the protection of our common values and principles. The Commission’s options to foster new ways to act more efficiently will be very useful in this perspective. While not stepping back from what we have achieved, we also have to find better ways of dealing with different levels of ambition amongst member states so as to ensure that Europe delivers better on the expectations of all European citizens.

The Rome Summit on 25 March will be a unique opportunity to give a new impetus to the EU by addressing the challenges ahead. Both Germany and France are deeply committed to the success of this process.

(Source of English text: German Federal Foreign Office.)

3. United Nations - Rejection of the resolution on the use of chemical weapons in Syria - Statement by Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (Paris - February 28, 2017)

With the United States and the United Kingdom, France presented to the United Nations Security Council a draft resolution aimed at imposing sanctions against the perpetrators of the chemical attacks which the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) confirmed in Syria. Russia decided to veto this text. This carries a heavy responsibility towards the Syrian people and the rest of mankind.

By adopting the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the international community wanted to ban the development, production, stockpiling and use of such weapons of mass destruction forever. This non-proliferation regime must be safeguarded at all costs. It is key to international peace and security.

In Syria, the use of chemical weapons by the regime and by Daesh [so-called ISIL], including against civilians, is intolerable. It is vital not to allow the crimes of those who choose to use such weapons to go unpunished. That is why France initiated this draft resolution with its partners. It sincerely regrets that the Security Council was unable to unite to deal accordingly with such acts.

France will not accept the atrocities the Syrian people continue to suffer. It will continue its efforts, with its partners, to fight against impunity and the use of chemical weapons. It calls on the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to remain fully mobilized in this regard.